Book review: The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Hooray for YA romance that is fun to read and doesn’t make my eyes roll constantly. It did have some of the usual tropes (main character is different from all of the other girls, adults are fairly useless, rich kids hosting awesome parties), but it has enough good going for it that I didn’t mind.

Darcy is nearly 18, super smart, book-obsessed, and keeping a big secret: the single mom that raised her after her father left their volatile relationship before her birth is a hoarder. Darcy’s best friend Marisol is the only person that has been to her apartment, and Darcy is worried the new building manager will see the mess and kick them out. She’s worried about children’s services finding out and taking her from her mom, and works to help pay expenses since so much of her mom’s money goes to shopping and hoarding. Darcy has never been kissed and lives inside her books and stories. One day, a damaged boy walks into the bookstore where she works, and things start to change.

Things that I love about this book:

Darcy is great. She’s the kind of extreme bookish that I can appreciate, she’s practically a genius, and she has excellent taste in books (if I do say so myself). She’s a little dramatic and whiny at times, but I was that way at 18, too. And for a little while last Tuesday, and many other times in between, so I’m ok with that. 😂

Marisol is the best kind of literary supporting character. She’s fully developed as a character and a perfect compliment to Darcy. She adds to the story, and isn’t just filler.

The family dynamics between Darcy, her mom Andrea, and her maternal grandmother are really nicely addressed, and the treatment of Andrea’s mental illness is well done.

Asher is a fantastic first-love sort of character. He’s got his own issues, but manages to be sweet and hot and perfect anyway.

Books galore! Darcy was named for Pride and Prejudice, and there are references galore to Austen, Jane Eyre, Shakespeare, Dickens and more. I especially loved the way the author treated and incorporated Barrie’s Peter Pan.

All of the good about this book far outweighs the eyerolls caused by the minor uses of tired YA cliches. A sweet read that I definitely recommend to anyone who likes YA contemporary romance.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2020 reading goals + mini-review dump for January books read (so far)

I have some ambitious reading goals for 2020. Believe it or not, these are actually not as nutty as last year, as I’m doing fewer challenges. Considering it’s already January 18th and this is my second blog of the year, I’m not sure number 5 is working out yet. I will get there!

I know challenges aren’t for everyone, but I love them. I enjoy planning my reading ahead of time, and I’ve read some excellent books to fill challenge prompts in the last few years that I probably would not have read otherwise. I’m excited about the books I have chosen for Reading Women Challenge and it’s been a favorite challenge of mine for the last two years. My other 3 challenges are all Litsy-based, as is the Read Around the World monthly challenge. I’m pleased to report I’ve already finished 3 challenge books so far in January. 🙌🏻

This isn’t one of them, but…

My first audiobook of 2020 was Lindy West’s second book of ever. I listened to it all on New Year’s Day and absolutely loved it. So quotable, and narrated by the funny, powerful woman herself, speaking the truth. Everyone should read this.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Graphic novels aren’t my favorite genre, but I was pleased to receive George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy on rotation for one of my postal book clubs. I have long loved Takei for his social media presence and activism. His personal story of the US internment of Japanese Americans during WWII is powerful and very well presented in this format.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Making good on my goal to read at least 2 BOTM books from my ridiculous tbr shelf each month, I finally read my February 2017 selection. 😬 Pachinko by Min Jin Lee was completely engrossing. Really well-written historical fiction spanning four generations of a family of ethnic Koreans in Japan in the 20th century. Fascinating and heartbreaking.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Margaret Atwood is incredible. Cat’s Eye is so well-written and powerful. A deep dive study of childhood and its impact on adult life. Beautifully detailed narrative of middle aged woman visiting her childhood hometown. Her memories unfold slowly, but I was never bored and often taken aback. I saw pieces of myself as a kid, a teenager, a wife, a mom, and as a woman in general. Disturbing but excellent.

My first ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ of 2020.

My books read for #NewYearWhoDis

For the second year in a row, I’m participating in a fun event on Litsy called #NewYearWhoDis. Participants compiled a list of up to 20 of our favorite reads from 2019, and our wonderful hostess/organizer used those lists to pair everyone up. In January, we all read at least one book from the list of our match and post on Litsy. My partner had an excellent list for me, including a couple I had read, a few already on my tbr, and several that I hadn’t even had on my radar.

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand was on the list, and since it’s the second book of a series, of course I decided to read Furyborn first. I was pleased to find that, unlike many series books I’ve read that are classified as YA fantasy, these books didn’t make me roll my eyes excessively. In fact, I enjoyed these books a lot. Great world-building, characters, and story, without the usual tropes. The second book was not as strong, and one character had a bit too drastic of a personality change. I don’t appreciate cliffhanger endings and this one definitely has that, but I will read the last book when it comes out.

Furyborn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kingsbane ⭐️⭐️⭐️

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey was a crazy romp of a novel. The setting is the swamps and rivers of the American south in the 1890s, only those rivers and swamps are infested with man-eating hippos. Enter our cast of vaguely-criminal, colorful hippo wranglers and add a fun caper, and how can this not be an enjoyable read?

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon is a very dark sci-fi set on a spaceship that has been fleeing the destroyed Earth for 300 years. Society onboard strongly resembles the antebellum south and slavery powers the ship. Not an easy read, but I loved the diverse characters and the writing is excellent.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers is just stunning sci-fi. A fascinating character study about four astronauts traveling to alien planets in a not-so-distant future. A perfect blend of science and humanity that doesn’t at all need a sequel, but gosh I would love one. Becky Chambers is an amazing author.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

This book was not one of my meticulously pre-planned reads. But sometimes, you’re just scrolling though book Twitter and see a tweet that grabs your attention that leads to you reading an entire book in a day so that you can watch the movie adaption the tweet was about. You know how it is!

The tweet that I saw last Saturday was referencing a movie available on Hulu called In Secret. The tweet had this gif that I can’t seem to stop watching:

One web search later, and I knew it was based on a #1001books selection that I already owned, so of course I read it. All of it. Then watched the movie which was very ok. I’m very thankful for the smoking-hot Oscar Isaac gif for bringing me to this book.

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola is deliciously dark, with a pervasive atmosphere of dread and loneliness which made me think often (and fondly) of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. Full of completely unlikeable characters, well-written, and pretty much a perfect gothic-type read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

This is such a long blog… I’ve really, really got to blog more often.

Until next time,